The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has awarded Gary M. Scopes, CAE, as the recipient of the AICPA Medal of Honor. He was presented the award by AICPA Chairman Bill Balhoff, CPA/CFF, CGMA, at the spring meeting of the AICPA Governing Council.
“Gary has significantly contributed to the strength and growth of the accounting profession at the state, national and international levels. For more than 40 years, he advanced the profession by sharing his knowledge, skills and abilities, most notably in professional ethics, government relations and international relations,” said Balhoff. “His long-lasting contributions are felt by virtually all. In recognition of such a distinguished career, and with great appreciation, the AICPA is pleased to present its Medal of Honor to Gary.”
The AICPA Medal of Honor recognizes an individual who is not a CPA whose work has had a significant impact on the profession. The Medal of Honor is the highest AICPA award for a non-CPA.
Scopes, while serving as the CEO of the Society of Louisiana CPAs, established two of the CPA profession's most significant programs. First, he developed the original CPA Key Person advocacy program. At his urging the program was replicated on the national level by the AICPA and in all state CPA societies. It continues to stand today as one of the most effective legislative programs the profession utilizes in educating Congress on issues of importance to the profession. For the second significant program he co-authored the first Joint Ethics Enforcement Procedures Manual, still used today by both state CPA societies and the AICPA.
In his capacity as a state CPA society CEO, Scopes was a driving force behind development of the Uniform Accountancy Act. He also had a role with state regulators, serving on the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s first Long Range Strategy Committee.
Scopes served as executive director of the National Association of Accountants and led its transformation with its first ethics enforcement program and led its strategic repositioning into the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). While at the IMA, He was a technical advisor on the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Board and as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Committee, and was also involved in the development and issuance of the first internal control guidelines by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO).
Scopes worked as an international consultant for the Asian Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the US Agency for International Development for seven years living in Macedonia, Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, China and Mongolia. Through these assignments, he assisted more than 30 countries on the development of their national accounting and auditing profession.
His efforts included strategic planning, passage of necessary laws in their parliaments, ethics and standards implementation, university curriculums, certification and licensing, and establishment of securities commissions.
In 2005, Scopes became the Institute’s first full time Director of International Relations. During his tenure at the AICPA, he helped to significantly broaden its international reach through establishment of the Global Accounting Alliance, development of the first international strategic plan, and building of the first AICPA international department.
As an international ambassador he represented the AICPA to the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants and served on the board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean. He also again served on the Board of IFAC as a Technical Advisor, culminating with prior service as one of the longest terms for any of the 130 countries represented in IFAC.
In his retirement, the World Bank recently asked Scopes to assist with the development of the accounting and auditing profession in Yemen. Because of violence in Yemen last December, the World Bank flew 23 officials representing their Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, universities, major firms and the CPA Institute from Yemen to Cairo, Egypt, in order to meet with Scopes and World Bank officials for development training.
On a pro-bono basis, Scopes trained them for two days in Cairo on the adoption of accounting and auditing laws, university curriculum enhancement, adoption of international standards, how to qualify for membership in IFAC, strengthening of the CPA Institute, certification and licensing, ethics enforcement, continuing education, quality assurance of auditing, and strategic planning.